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Hanging in there - from the knob of my medicine cabinet

Posted May 13

Celebrating Mother’s Day as a mother is something that still seems surreal to me. I feel like my kids are such a huge part of me and my life that I can hardly remember not having them, and yet at the same time wondering how I can be old enough to have four.

Last month we sold our townhome. It was bittersweet, but definitely time to get into something with a little more room to grow. For anyone that has sold a home, you know it’s almost as exhausting as having a newborn baby. I deep-cleaned my house more in the last month than I ever have in my life to get it “show ready” and had Scentsy going round the clock almost to the point of nausea. I felt like a mad woman stuffing toys in the basement and throwing out anything we haven’t looked at in the past week.

On the day the new owners were set to come and take one final walk-through, my husband and I spent the morning doing a last-minute sweep. As I was rushing around the kitchen cleaning counters and wiping floors, I noticed a pair of socks on top of the refrigerator. More annoyed than surprised, I climbed up onto the counter and grabbed the pair of socks, then quickly jumped down.

Only I didn’t make it all the way to the floor.

Mid-leap, the waistband of my pajama pants caught on our medicine cabinet knob, jerking me back up and smacking my body back hard into our kitchen cabinets. And there I hung like an awkward starfish, my full body weight dependent on one tiny knob the size of a quarter.

Luckily my husband was just in the other room and heard my panicked cry for help. He came running and quickly lifted me up, unwrapping my pants from the knob just as they began to rip.

“What in the world happened?” he asked with wide eyes. Suddenly I was 5 years old again, sobbing uncontrollably and telling him everywhere that hurt.

“It’s OK,” he soothed, carrying me across the kitchen, stifling a laugh. I’m sure the image of me in a frozen jumping-jack shape suspended in mid-air will be burned into his brain until the end of time.

I cried harder.

“Carmen, it’s OK. Just calm down,” he tried again, which was kind of ridiculous because everyone knows no one ever calms down from someone telling them to “calm down.”

I hobbled over to the living room couch and sat down to inspect the damage. A nasty bruise on my hip was already beginning to form, but the real sore spot was the deep cut on the back of my swollen ankle which hit hard on the edge of our bottom cabinet.

Suddenly, in the midst of all this drama, I remembered we had children, who were all staring wide-eyed and worried at their injured mother. My 4-year-old made me a drink. My 6-year-old brought me an ice pack. My dog began literally licking my wounds and laid down beside me. It would have been very relaxing except for the throbbing pain.

It’s been more than a week, and I wish there were some hidden camera in our house that captured that moment so I could see the look on my face and the quick reaction of my husband, rushing in to help. I wish I could see my sweet boys, gathering around me and wanting to make me feel better. I still can’t believe my dangling body didn’t rip out the whole cabinet.

This crazy incident has forced me to slow down and take it easy. As I’ve hobbled around at night, followed by a sleepy dog who is still reluctant to leave my side, rearranging covers and giving my boys one last goodnight kiss, I always say a silent prayer that I am enough. It’s those small moments with my boys each day — a shared joke, reading books together, a quick hug and an “I love you” — that, like that cabinet knob, jerk me out of my harried pace, and that quiet voice that says, “Wait a minute. Stop and soak this in.” (Perhaps in a less awkward and painful way.)

Happy Mother’s Day to every woman who is doing their best, day in and day out.

Hang in there.

Carmen Rasmusen Herbert is a former "American Idol" contestant who writes about entertainment and family for the Deseret News. Her email is carmen.r.herbert@gmail.com.

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